Saturday, 29 August 2015
Knaresborough Holiday:: Days 1 - 2
Hello My Friends!! Hello Hello!! I am back! Hopefully you didn't miss me too much, I was on holiday in Knaresborough, Yorkshire with the family for a week which was rather lovely. We arrived home this afternoon and after unpacking the perishables into the fridge I was straight on the laptop going through my photos and organising them so that I could begin my blog update. I took nearly 800 photos this week and am trying very hard to cut them down and filter out the best ones to show you but I fear that for the next couple of days my blog will be very photo heavy with lengthy posts. I warn you now that this post alone has 46 photos and it isn't a busy section of the holiday, you may need copious amounts of chocolate, your preferred beverage and plenty of free time before you begin reading these posts!!
And so, with that caution in mind, let me begin!!
To break our journey up to Yorkshire, we stopped off at Hardwick Hall, which was built and decorated by Bess of Hardwick to be a home fit for a future Queen- her granddaughter Lady Arbella Stuart. Unfortunately, poor Lady Arbella never actually became Queen, and ended up locked in the Tower of London, where she starved herself to death. (There are all sorts of accounts about her unhappiness at being told what to do all of her life which caused her to become severely depressed etc...but I won't go into that too much. It is an absolutely fascinating story if you wish to research into it more yourself.)
The ruins in the above photo are the old hall (owned by English Heritage unlike the new hall which is National Trust) which was the original house of Bess and her family, however as she became more and more obsessed with building the new home, it gradually became abandoned and fell into disuse, becoming the ruin that you see today. Hints of the old grandeur are still visible through the glass-less windows, with the beautiful ornate carvings on the walls. Lovely aren't they?
The new hall is very impressive and as we arrived too early to go around the house, we focused first on the gardens.
They had a huge vegetable patch, these red cabbages were simply enormous!!
And I loved these little fairy houses built into a couple of trees. You could even open those doors and the insides were full of dolls house or miniature items for the children to play with (or big kids like me!)
There were gazillions of lady bugs on the fennel too- all different colours and sizes, we spent quite a long time looking at them and counting spots.
I loved the windows in this house, real traditional lead framed windows. In one section of the house the original coloured glass had obviously fallen out and had been replaced with clear glass that had paint behind to disguise the new with the old. I am a complete sucker for the textures that flaking paint gives and thought this particular window was gorgeous!!
The back garden has a more formal area with a fountain and border flowerbeds, complete with a ha-ha looking over some very manicured grass.
The inside of the house was very interesting, it had some amazing embroideries, check out the Stitches In Time exhibition which has several panels of exquisite embroideries that Bess collected- The Mother and I spent quite a long time examining those.
The walls are also completed covered with huge tapestries- what colour to paint the walls was obviously an issue so rather than paint, Bess simply covered every wall surface with tapestries; problem solved!
After we finished with the house, we hopped in the car and drove a short distance to the other side of the parkland for a spot of lunch. There was a beautiful , lily pad encrusted lake with views of the old and new halls up on the hillside.
With our stopover finished, it was back on the road for the last leg of our journey until we reached Knaresborough.
Look at our gorgeous holiday home!! We couldn't believe our luck. The house was called Tenter Turret and was the three floor turrety bit you can see, as well as another section on the other side that you can't see. It has lots of history behind it as it used to be a dye house, and there is still a hole covered with a grate in the middle of the kitchen floor where the excess water and dye was brushed in to when it was in use.
There were many quirks to this house, one of the best ones being the rooftop patio!! The 'bridge' from the back garden to the roof was a bit rickety and if you weren't careful you could be knocked out by one of the apples on the tree leaning over. I did try one of the apples (getting all excited about plucking fresh fruits from the tree) but it was a bit sour so we didn't eat any more in the end.
From the rooftop there were the most fantastic views over the River Nidd. We were almost right alongside the river, and could see it, as well as the Aqueduct on the left, the castle behind on top of the hill and the bridge on the right from our windows.
Downstairs on the patio was a beautiful sun spot where we ate breakfast every morning. Reports reached us of the terrible weather and flooding that we had left behind in East Sussex, however in Yorkshire the rain (and thunder and lightening) seemed to avoid us and only happened when we were inside or settled for the night, and for the majority of the time we were blessed with glorious sunshine and blue skies.
The houses along our side of the road are all built into a cliff face (which is why the back garden is the same height as the roof), and out of our lower back door, we had our own personal cave!! The house next to us actually had the rock as their back wall.
Breakfast on the patio, in the sunshine. Absolute bliss.
We decided to have a relaxed lazy day on the Sunday. It was already quite late in the morning by the time we were all up and dressed and breakfasted. Riverside Knaresborough appears to be quite a touristy spot at the weekends, although was relatively quiet in the mornings and evenings, with boats available and lots of cafes along the waters edge.
We wandered along with everybody else (already feeling a sense of pride that we actually lived in this desirable area, however temporarily), underneath the Aqueduct and in and out of the little shops.
We took the very steep steps up to the top of the hill towards Knaresborough castle, which gave us glorious views of the river below.
The castle is pretty dilapidated now. What's left is quite little really, with three obvious rooms on the ground floor, one big dungeon underneath and one flight of stairs up to a first floor. I imagine it was probably much larger and more impressive in its day though.
We wandered all around the town exploring and investigating. There were several buildings where instead of windows, little scenes or people had been painted instead which looked fantastic and really added to the historical element of the area.
Lots of the buildings had this black and white checkered pattern on it, which all stems from a very old building along the waters edge called The Old Manor House (not the building in the above photo). Currently a privately owned house, all you can see is the back of it so I didn't get very many photos, but according to the information plate on a nearby wall, it is a grade 2 listed building built in 1208 around a still existing oak tree, as a hunting lodge for King John.
We continued our lazy day well into the evening, even going so far as not being bothered to cook tea, choosing instead to wander the two minutes along the road to our local pub, The World's End. We actually went for tea here three times over the week as it was so friendly and the food so nice. Our favourite place to sit was this conservatory section with large bi-folding doors opening out over the garden. It was a good thing we sat under here on the first night as the heavens opened just as we arrived- quite a spectacle!
Please do join me tomorrow for the next couple of days into our holiday!!